Attached is a link to a video that was sent out in 1995 to all incoming students by the University of Virginia administration under President John T. Casteen and then-Honor Chair Ms. Raya Papp. Many thanks to Van Krebs for finding it in his files.
The 20-minute video, brilliantly narrated by then-ABC Correspondent Brit
Hume explained both the history and workings of the UVa Honor System and
the value of a community of honor.
It is a wonderful video but also a very sad commentary on how far we have fallen since 1995. There are many interviews with students and faculty and administrators supporting the honor system at UVa that would be damn near impossible to get now. The video is way too long for the attention span of today’s students and the background pictures are totally non-PC in today’s world. The letter from Papp is brilliant.
— Bert Ellis
The Jefferson Council
Dear Incoming Student,
On behalf of the Honor Committee, welcome to the University of Virginia. You will soon be able to explore the vast opportunities available at the University — both academic and extracurricular. You will be able to do so in an atmosphere based on mutual trust among students, faculty and administration.
Although there are many remarkable aspects of the University, the Honor System serves as the foundation of its unique environment. Since its establishment 153 years ago, both the System and the Honor Code have evolved to accommodate the beliefs of each successive generation of students. The underlying principle of honor, however, has always remained unaltered.
Honor is the basis for our Community of Trust. Each member of this Community is responsible for ensuring the System’s preservation and maintenance. In return, it affords students numerous benefits: you will be able to take unproctored exams, you can write checks to local merchants simply by presenting your student identification, you can feel comfortable leaving your belongings unattended. Most importantly, you will soon be living in an environment where one’s word is taken to be the truth — without question.
It is each student’s responsibility to protect the System: to hold one’s self to the high standards of being honorable and to hold one’s fellow students to those same standards. It is your responsibility o make the right decision, to govern yourself and to preserve our Community of Trust.
This video is designed to explain the Honor System in more detail so you can develop a better understanding of its structure and rules. By accepting the University’s offer of admission, you have already agreed to be bound by the Honor System. Please take this opportunity to view the video and become acquainted with the unique environment in which you will soon be living.
I have the utmost confidence that you will uphold the spirit and ideals of the Honor System. I wish you the best of luck as you begin the next phase in your education. Again, welcome to the University of Virginia. Welcome to the Community of Trust.
Raya L. Papp
Chairman of the Honor Committee
This validates how far the Honor System has fallen over the past quarter century. The current Administration barely acknowledges it. An increasing minority of students view it an anachronistic artifact of white supremacy, if CD editorials are to be believed.
It is evident that the Administration is indifferent at best. The majority of current faculty do not believe in the Honor System’s core values. It is evident the minority who do lack the guts to stand up and defend it for fear of peer retribution.
As Edmund Burke famously said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Alumni must grab back our University. It is time for forceful action.